I like a new bar of soap. It’s fresh, untouched and most of the time, smells nice. Soap is a good thing; however, it’s not very useful unless we apply it to our bodies.
Approximately 760 years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah, admonishes the Jewish people to wash and make themselves clean. It seemed Israel, as a whole, had become outwardly religious but with all their religious acts they failed to help the poor and the needy. As “good people of God” they still brought their sacrifices to the Lord, kept their traditions and observed the Sabbaths; but God, called their religious efforts an abomination, and even likened them unto Sodom and Gomorrah. Now, this association had nothing to do with the “sin of homosexuality,” which is, so often, wrongly attributed to these cities. No, their sin was the same as “their sister, Sodom…they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49) And so, for this cause, Isaiah tosses a “bar of soap” to the religious crowd and says, “Wash yourselves and make yourselves clean. Stop doing the evil things… Treat people fairly. Punish those who hurt others. Speak up for the widows and orphans. Argue their cases for them in court.” (Isaiah 1:16) I wonder just how many religious organizations today need that same bar of soap?
It’s important to be clean, especially if you enjoy having friends. I remember, as a kid, I played hard outside all day, and as a result when I came inside for the evening, I looked and smelled like a motley critter. My mama would always make me take a bath, to wash away the dirt and grime. It was so much fun getting dirty, but for some reason, I never liked the “getting clean” part.
I have the same problem today, not physically but spiritually. Most days begin like a bullet from a gun. The moment my feet are on the floor my mind is ten steps ahead, mentally taking care of whatever’s next. By the end of the day I’m exhausted and all I want to do is eat and veg in front of the television, until I fall asleep.
While this may feel good at the time, in the long run, it wrecks havoc upon not only my physical health but also my spiritual health. By the end of most days, I’m overloaded with all the cares of my day, and so when I lose myself to television, and social media, as much as I love them, I only add to that burden. The more I wallow, the more filth I collect, and in the end I actually feel dirty.
So, instead of falling prey to this bad habit, each day I try to take the time to wash and cleanse myself of anxiety, insecurity, guilt, shame, fear and disappointment. My soul and spirit desperately need a renewal and a refreshing. The apostle Paul, also recognized this when he wrote, “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) In his letter to the church of Corinth, he reminds the Christians that God has given us all things through grace by faith therefore, “… we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (II Corinthians 4:16) It takes some effort, but each night, Corinne and I, set aside a time to slow down, breathe, pray and meditate upon God’s unconditional love.
God tells me, over and over…and over again just how much he loves me. He loves me so much that “He gave His only begotten son” to me. (John 3:16) When I read God’s love affirmations, I make them personal, as if I were the only person in the world, because that is exactly what he desires of me, an intimate personal relationship. And that’s exactly what he wants from you too.
Talk to Him…listen to Him…learn of Him…experience His love. He is yours and you are His.
God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. ~ Augustine
(This post is in response to the daily prompt: Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution that you kept?)